Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Jaden Withrow state triple jump champion


Jaden Withrow had a season best triple jump at the right time resulting in a Class C, triple jump, state championship at Omaha Burke Stadium this past Friday! The talented Kimball High junior sailed out 44'1.75" on his first jump in the event and that mighty hop-skip-jump was the best jump of all Class C state qualifiers, and was also the first time Withrow had eclipsed the 44 foot mark, and was a personal career best!

Jaden, a two event state qualifier, wasn't done yet. After a night's sleep, he returned to Burke Stadium and picked up his second state medal of the weekend finishing fourth in the long jump with his jump of 20'8.5". He was actually sitting in second place after the prelims and going into the finals. A great jump for certain but not a career best as he had a jump of '21'5" earlier in the season.

By virtue of his two state places, Jaden scored 15 points and the Kimball High boys finished 11th in the team standings of Class C. Quite an accomplishment for the young man who has been to the state meet all three years of his track career. This season has been especially satisfying as there was some doubt Jaden would even do track after suffering a knee injury in football that ended his junior season in that sport early. He did come back however and was able to play basketball, and then was able to check out for the track and field sport as well.

"I wasn't sure I would be able to do track this year, but after giving it a try at the Chadron State Indoor meet, I felt it was going to be okay," Jaden said. As to his feelings on winning two state medals this past weekend, he commented "It was kind of unreal. I realized what I had done when I was standing on the medal platform, and then it really sank in a couple of days later."

With one more year of track ahead of him, Withrow moved into the number three spot in the Kimball High School records. He still trails school record holder Dave Wasser who has the top jump of 45'7" set way back in 1974, and Jay Staehr who sits in the number two spot at 44'6.25" set in 1994. Jaden gave a lot of credit to his improved marks this year to the work he did in the weight room. Now he has his goal in mind of going after that school record and simply improving next season. By the way, Jaden did move into the top five in the long jump in the school records, taking out Jay Staehr who jumped 21'.05" in 1994 and Dennis Hemphill at 21'3" in 1971. Harper High owns the number one spot at 22'9.5". John Walker is number two at 22'3", Brady Land number three at 21'7", and Mike Lippold is number four at 21'6.5".

Kimball had four state qualifiers this year and although Withrow was the lone state medalist for the Longhorns, all four did their school and themselves proud. Trent Rutledge, the lone senior in the group, came up short of his goal of reaching 14 feet in the pole vault but had a good height of 13'0" to finish tenth, two places out of a medal. Earlier this season Trent soared 13'6" to tie the school record and now shares it with Bob Gerner who set the mark 40 years ago way back in 1976. Coach Gene Mohr said in Trent's warmup vaults at Omaha, he felt his vaulter looked as good as he had ever seen him. "Trent was really coming down the runway with good speed and was getting the bend he needed out his pole and I thought to myself this is going to be good. Then I noticed a change in his demeanor and I found out Trent had picked up a headache and wasn't feeling as good."

Trent said he was a bit disappointed he didn't go higher. "I think it bothered me with the waiting after I had my warmup vaults. I did get a headache that bothered some," he said. Trent is not done with his vaulting though as he will attend Wesleyan University in Lincoln this coming fall and play football and compete in track and field. Coach Mohr said had he matched his best of 13'6", he would have ended up in the top five at Omaha.

Brandon Barker, a junior came up short of his career best in the 3200 meter run as well, running 10:38.99 which placed him 20th, but he has one more year to get that state medal. Hannah Biesecker, Kimball's lone female state qualifier, and only a sophomore, finished 17th in her event with a jump of 15'1.25", well below her season best jump of 16'5.5" Coach Mohr said Hannah had one jump right at 17 feet that was called a scratch, but video showed it could have been called either way, it was that close. Hannah is just 1.5" from moving into the top five in the school records and has two more years to excel in the event. Congrats to all four Kimball High state qualifiers for their showing at the state meet.


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